Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgic said on Friday that recent statements of Tobruk government are attempts to ‘justify’ the attack on Turkish vessel in the Mediterranean on May 10, noting such approach is ‘unacceptable’ by Turkey.
A Turkish dry cargo vessel named Tuna-1 chartered to the Cook Islands carrying a drywall cargo from Spain which was attacked by forces loyal to General Khalifa Hafter’s rival Tobruk government (HoR) in international waters 13 miles (21 km) off the Tobruk coast.
Spokesman noted that statements claiming that the vessel was carrying a different load does not reflect the truth and said, “We reject such views. It is unacceptable to carry land attacks and air strikes on civilian ships with the excuse of fighting terrorism. Counter-terrorism cannot be tackled by violation of law, but relies on establishment of an inclusive unity government.”
In the attack the third officer aboard Ilker Buyukdere was killed and other crew members were wounded.
Foreign Ministry previously had described the attack as “barbaric,” while Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack on the Turkish cargo vessel and said the Turkish government will be monitoring after its rights and pursue a legal case.
The ship arrived at Fethiye Port in Turkey’s southwestern Mugla province late Tuesday along with the corpse of Buyukdere.
The attack on the Tuna-1 marks the second attack on a foreign civilian vessel by HoR forces since the assembly was founded and begun a military campaign to take control over Libya in August.
In January, HoR forces conducted an air strike on a Greek vessel chartered to bring oil supplies to cities suffering power outages. The attack killed two crew members.